BYU's Tavernari declares for the NBA draft; maintains college eligibility

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Read KSL's Take hereNews ReleasePROVO -- BYU junior forward Jonathan Tavernari announced Wednesday that he will enter his name for the 2009 NBA Draft but will not hire an agent to maintain his eligibility for his senior season of college.

"I want to see how I compare with the top players in the country and the world who are trying to move on to the next level," Tavernari said. "This will give me a chance to see what my options are and to find out what I need to improve as a basketball player."

A native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil, Tavernari received third-team All-Mountain West Conference honors and joined BYU's 1,000-point club during his junior season. He led the Cougars in rebounding (7.2) and threes (85) and was second on the team in steals (49) and third in scoring (15.7). Last summer Tavernari played on the Brazilian Senior National Team that competed in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Athens, Greece.

Tavernari has helped lead BYU to three-straight MWC regular season titles, becoming the first Cougar to win conference titles in each of his first three seasons. In addition to his 2009 All-MWC citation, he was named the 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year and third-team All-MWC in 2008. In Tavernari's three seasons the Cougars are a combined 77-25 overall and 39-9 in the league action and have been ranked in the top 25 each year.

"Jonathan has played an important role in our success over the last three seasons, and is going to explore his opportunities by declaring for the draft," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "He is a great shooter and good defender who helped us win a third-straight Mountain West Conference Championship and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament."

By making himself eligible for the draft, Tavernari can be invited to pre-draft camps designed to evaluate potential draft choices and participate in workouts with NBA teams. College underclassmen have until Sunday, April 26, to declare for the draft. Student-athletes who have not signed with an agent can return to college by withdrawing from the draft by June 15.

Tavernari follows in the footsteps of Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted, who entered their names last spring in the 2008 NBA Draft. Cummard did not hire an agent and returned to BYU to earn first-team All-MWC honors during his senior season while Plaisted hired an agent and was selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft.

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